The new Learning in Digital Wales Grant will ensure that learners are able to access faster, high-quality broadband services which are both robust and reliable.
The investment will initially comprise of £27m of targeted capital funding for local authorities to upgrade internet connections in their schools.
Where needed, local authorities will also be able to provide their primary and special schools with £10,000 and their secondary schools with £20,000 to improve ICT infrastructure and purchase ICT hardware to support teaching and learning.
Today’s announcement follows the launch in December of Hwb, a digital learning platform for all learners aged 3-19 in Wales. Hwb will allow teachers and learners to access online resources anywhere, at anytime and from any internet enabled device.
The new grant scheme will ensure that learners in Wales can have equal access to the tools and resources provided by Hwb, providing an equal educational experience for learners across the country and establishing a level playing field for broadband connectivity.
The First Minister said:
“We want Wales to be a world leader in digital learning, therefore we need to be able to offer our schools fast, consistent and reliable broadband services
“This investment will ensure that, by 2014, primary and secondary schools in Wales will have access to safe and secure world-class broadband services needed to deliver a world-class digital education.
“The grant funding represents a major step forward in changing the way schools use digital technologies, widening access and driving up standards of performance across the board.”
Education Minister, Leighton Andrews said:
“Schools across Wales have told us of the difficulties they have experienced in accessing online resources due to varying degrees of broadband connectivity.
“This is even more frustrating considering that many schools have the plans, equipment and enthusiasm to offer a high standard of digital education to their pupils.
“This new funding will allow pupils and teachers to make full use of the online tools and resources provided by Hwb, our new digital learning platform for all learners aged 3-19 in Wales, and also create and host their own local secure learning platforms.
“This investment demonstrates our commitment to create world-class resources for Welsh schools.”